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The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in the 
United States. 

It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and practice of 
Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the members of 
the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS. This is 
done in the spirit of Vatican It's recommendation that religious institutes recapture the 
original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the circumstances of modern times. 
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James W. Bernauer, S.J., teaches philosophy at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 

Richard A. Blake, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar and editor of STUDIES; he teaches film 

studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2002). 
James T. Bretzke, S.J., teaches theology at the University of San Francisco, San Fran- 
cisco, Cal. (2006) 
Patrick J. Howell, S.J., is vice-president for Mission and Ministry at Seattle University, 

Seattle, Wash. (2006) 
T. Frank Kennedy, S.J., teaches music and is director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston 

College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2004). 
Mark S. Massa, S.J., teaches theology and is director of the American Catholic Studies 

Program at Fordham University, Bronx, N. Y. (2006) 
Thomas Massaro, S.J., teaches moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, 

Cambridge, Mass. (2006) 
Gerald L. McKevitt, S.J., teaches history at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Cal. 

William E. Reiser, S.J., teaches theology at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, 

Mass. (2004). 
Philip J. Rosato, S.J., is senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Washington, 

D.C. (2005) 
Thomas L Schubeck, S.J., teaches social ethics at John Carroll University, University 

Heights, Ohio (2004). 

The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. 
Parentheses designate year of entry as a Seminar member. 

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Loved into Freedom and Service 

Lay Experiences of the Exercises in Daily Life 

Patrick M. Kelly, SJ. 


39/2 • SUMMER 2007 

The first word . . . 

What is truly awful preaching really like? Several old movie images 
spring to mind. Try this one: Indians on the warpath, bedecked in feathers 
and paint, galloping frantically around the circled wagon train, whooping 
in a kind of manic frenzy and occasionally firing a harmless arrow at their 
prey. The settlers, meanwhile, hunker down among their Conestogas and 
pray for the inevitable bugle from the cavalry that signals their rescue. Or 
just as often they simply wait for the Indians to grow tired and just go 
away. Like all good metaphors this one holds a bit of ambiguity. Are the 
errant arrows directed at the topic of the homily or the congregation? It 
makes no difference. In either case, they miss. 

Other preachers seem much more methodical in their tactics. One 
might think of one of those rickety tanks from World War I, rumbling in 
brute determination across no man's land, struggling for a moment to cross 
a ruined trench of an idea, then grinding on over tangled swirls of barbed 
wire and convoluted enthymemes. Machine-gun bullets and grenades 
bounce off its armor like pesky flies on an elephant's haunch. Having 
limited visibility, or none at all, it sets its destination and grunts forward, 
impervious to the shifting battlefield. Its pace however leaves snail and 
tortoise alike impatient for progress. What, in the end, is the point of all 
this churning of gears and screeching of steel? Will it even arrive at its 
designated destination, whatever that might be? 

Perhaps other movie cliches come to mind: the lost legionnaire dying of 
thirst in the Sahara, with the mirage of an idea just over the horizon; 
Godzilla venting his reptilian rage by crushing cardboard skylines and 
every other sign of modernity with his plaster fangs and papier-mache 
claws; Dr. Frankenstein, quite proud of his achievement, shouting, "It's 
alive," with little awareness that he has created a monster; Shirley Temple 
grinning cheerily as she tap-dances endlessly on the same square foot of 
stage with little desire to move on. Perhaps other images will come into 

Over the years, or centuries, the people out there in the pews have 
learned to cope with awful preaching. They come equipped with an on/ofF 
switch. There is empirical evidence to prove the point. Some years ago, a 
visiting missionary came to the small-town parish that I visited each Sun- 
day. He was an engaging speaker and did what struck me as a fine job on 
the standard-issue appeal sermon. He greeted the congregation in the 
language of the area he served, told the obligatory story of the little girl at 
the mission station who could not be there to tell her own story, but 


wanted to go to school. He explained that back in his parish there were 
hundreds of other orphans just like her who depended on the generosity of 
American parishes, just like this one. He was relatively brief, engaging, and 
enthusiastic. After Mass, he stood on one side of the front door, snaking 
hands with the parishioners as they left. I stood on the other. Although I 
did not keep count, my guess is that nearly a third of the people on my 
side of the doorway thanked me for the fine sermon I had just preached. 
Clearly, while this visiting priest spoke of the needs of the Church in some 
distant land and I sat quietly by the sacristy door, their thoughts were 
focused on the coming Sunday dinner with the in-laws and an afternoon 
with the NFL. Years of flipping the off switch left them like the parade of 
zombies from Night of the Living Dead. 

These good people had become like regular movie goers, who have seen 
so much mayhem and murder on the screen that they have lost their 
ability to react at all. And then comes the next logical question: If many 
parishioners have grown desensitized to bad preaching, have they also lost 
the ability to respond to good preaching? Everyone tries to be polite, so as 
a result it's difficult for us, laity and clergy alike, to recognize the differ- 
ence. We lack a realistic feedback loop to encourage good preachers to 
hone their skills and the poor ones to seek help to improve. 

This dichotomy is overly simplistic, of course. Most of us have our 
good days and bad days. Sometimes the Scripture speaks to us, and some- 
times not. We can be busy with other things, pressured, distracted, or not 
feeling particularly well. Sometimes ideas leap off the page, speak to our 
passionate concerns, and create their own electricity. Wonderful homilists 
can, on occasion, come up with dreary, incoherent sermons. Dull, incoher- 
ent preachers can, on occasion, sparkle, but don't count on it. One really 
has to look at the averages over the year before issuing a final grade. 

Performance reports and grading have become a way of life in the 
corporate world. Colleges, especially, tend to take grades seriously, even for 
faculty. Tenure, promotion, and salary increments depend on one's effec- 
tiveness as a teacher. At the end of each semester, we distribute "course- 
evaluation forms." These allow students to switch roles and grade their 
professors. This is truly an amazing ritual. Almost every class will have a 
few comments along the lines of "This is the finest experience I have had 
in my entire college career." Predictably, these will be canceled out by a 
several remarks along the lines of "Don't ever let this guy step in front of a 
class again." Some will complain that I speak too loudly and give them a 
headache, while others say they can't hear because I drop my voice and 
whisper. The majority of comment sheets fall somewhere in the middle, 
which is probably a lot closer to the truth, since few of us have the power 
to be as inspiring or destructive as some of our students proclaim. 

That critical center does shift between a positive and a negative read- 
ing, according to the group, since classes, just like individuals, have their 


own personalities. Many of us have had the experience of teaching 
back-to-back sections of the same class. One is a delight and the other 
sheer drudgery, and the year-end evaluations tend to reflect this mysteri- 
ous clash or mesh of personalities. Both classes have the same material, 
same teacher, same tests and papers, but far different results. Finally, some 
vociferous critics base their comments on issues beyond reasonable human 
control: "This class is a joke. It meets at nine o'clock and nobody is awake 
then." I can always count on a couple of comments from people who sign 
up for a class in early film history, "From the beginnings to the advent of 
sound," as the catalogue describes it, and then complain bitterly that "he 
makes us watch old movies." 

In many schools, students have supplemented the official evaluation 
process with an open-forum blogsite. It's a great idea, but unfortunately 
many of the bloggers use the system to ventilate their rage at a disappoint- 
ing grade, which they are convinced is the only thing standing between 
them and the medical school of their choice. Noting the spelling and 
grammar in some of these electronic tantrums, I recall the response of one 
veteran colleague in a pre-med program, who after listening to an adoles- 
cent tirade about his unfair grading, responded, "The only way you'll get 
into a medical school is on a gumey with a label on your big toe." The 
angriest blogs can be shrugged off as meaningless by tenured old-timers 
whose skin has thickened over the years. But they have to be painful for 
vilified younger faculty, especially when they have to propose to a skeptical 
rank-and-tenure committee that a few scurrilous comments on the Web 
may explain why they are not attracting their share of students into the 

Constructive feedback in both preaching and teaching remains an 
elusive goal, and it's made even more difficult since both professions can be 
compared to those "time-release" medicines relentlessly advertised on 
television. Often the effect takes place long after ingestion. On occasion, 
years after the fact, grateful students or parishioners will thank us for 
something we said or did, for an idea or a course, that made a real differ- 
ence in their lives. More likely than not, we cannot remember them or the 
circumstance they cite, but somehow, in some mysterious way, the Lord 
worked through our ministry to touch them. These are the kinds of mo- 
ments that the most ingenious feedback questionnaires and course-evalua- 
tion forms could never account for in a million years. When it happens, it 
is a beautiful and humbling experience. 

Spiritual direction is the delayed-action ministry par excellence, and 
more than in most other ministries appearances and immediate reactions 
can be deceiving. During a retreat, a person can have a cordial relationship 
with the director, have a positive experience with prayer, and eagerly look 
forward to returning for more of the same next year. The feedback is 
positive, without qualification. Or another person might dislike the direc- 

tor, hold back information, struggle with prolonged desolation, and yearn 
to get out of the place as soon as possible, vowing never to return. Which 
one has made the better retreat? Who can say? Should the first director 
feel satisfied that he has "the knack," or the second feel discouraged that 
she didn't handle the relationship more creatively? The immediate feed- 
back can be misleading in either case. What counts for everything is the 
way the experience of the retreat affects the rest of their lives. 

In this issue of STUDIES Pat Kelly shares his own expertise in trying to 
construct a process for gathering feedback from twenty men and women 
who had made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. Several points of his 
study are instructive. The interviews take place some time after the actual 
retreat experience. The retreatants have had the opportunity to see how 
the graces of the retreat have worked out in their workaday lives. By this 
time they had moved beyond a good relationship with the director or the 
sense of consolation in prayer. Since Pat did not serve as their director, he 
could stand outside their experience as an objective observer, and they had 
no reason to try to make him feel good about what they accomplished 
under his direction. In this essay, he's summarized only a few of the inter- 
views. It's just enough to give a sense of what happens to people in pews 
or parlors or classrooms after they have allowed God to speak to them 
through a limited but gifted minister. 

Richard A. Blake, S.J. 




Introduction 1 

I. The Experiences of Retreatants 5 

II. Loved into Freedom 10 

III. The Two Standards 15 

IV. Making Choices 21 

V. Examen of Consciousness 26 

Conclusion 32 


Patrick M. Kelly, S.J., of the Detroit Province, taught 
courses in Ignatian spirituality and was one of the 
founders of the Choices Retreat Program while a 
regent at the University of Detroit Mercy. He received 
his doctorate from the School of Religion at Claremont 
University in the areas of theology, ethics, and culture. 
He is currently the LeRoux Professor at Seattle Uni- 
versity, holding a joint appointment with the Depart- 
ment of Theology and Religious Studies and the Cen- 
ter for the Study of Sport and Exercise. 


Loved into Freedom and Service 

Lay Experiences of the Exercises in Daily Life 

For the past several years, the Nineteenth Annotation Re- 
treat has become an important element in supporting luna- 
tion spirituality among lay people. By selecting four inter- 
viewees from twenty diverse men and women who had made 
the Exercises while continuing with their other responsibili- 
ties, the author provides an insight into the long-term effect 
of this experience on their lives precisely as lay people. 

A reading of the signs of the times since the Second Vatican Council 
shows unmistakably that the Church of the next millennium will be 
called the "Church of the Laity/' 

GC 34, "Cooperation with the Laity in Mission" 

d. 13, para. 331 (p. 159) 


We are in the next millennium. These are both perilous and 
exciting times in the Church and the world. In the 
Church, new opportunities were unleashed when the 
breath of the Spirit blew over those gathered at the Second Vatican 
Council and helped them to recognize and name the gifts of lay 
persons in a new way. By making the People of God one of its 
primary images, the council highlighted that the Church is made up 
of all the baptized and that each and every person is called to 
holiness. Each person is also called to participate in the mission of 
the Church. 

In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the 
apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member is 

2 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

purely passive: sharing in the life of the body each member shares 
also in its activity. 1 

In this new context, lay people are looking for theological and 
spiritual resources that can help them make progress in the Christian 
life and live out their vocations in the world. One resource many are 
turning to is the Nineteenth Annotation version of the Spiritual 
Exercises. Judging from the criteria of the council for the kinds of 
theological and spiritual "aids" lay people should be using, this 
retreat is uniquely suited to the needs of lay people at this time. For 
one thing, the Council Fathers emphasized the importance of union 
with Christ as a basis for the lay apostolate. As they put it, "The 
fruitfulness of the apostolate of lay people depends on their living 
union with Christ, as the Lord said himself: 'Those who abide in me 
and I in them bear much fruit, for separated from me you can do 
nothing' (John 15:5)" (407, no. 4). At the very heart of the experience 
of the Spiritual Exercises is the fostering of an intimate relationship 
such as this with Christ. 

Another reason the Nineteenth Annotation version of the 
retreat is an apt "aid," according to the criteria of the council Fathers, 
is that lay people can make the retreat while continuing to carry out 
their responsibilities in the world. Such accommodation comes 
highly recommended: 

Lay people should so use these aids that, while doing what is ex- 
pected of them in the world in the ordinary conditions of life, they 
do not separate their union with Christ from their ordinary life, but 
actually grow closer to him by doing their work according to God's 
will. (407, no. 4) 

Over the last few years, I spoke at length with twenty lay 
people who made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat in an attempt 
to understand just how they found this retreat helpful in our time. 2 

1 Vatican Council II: The Basic Sixteen Documents, "Decree on the Apostolate of 
Lay People/' ed. Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, N.Y.: Costello Publishing Co., 
1996), p. 405, para. 2. 

I interviewed twelve women and eight men. I did not direct any of these 
retreatants during the retreat. I spoke with each of them after they had made the 
retreat (with varying lengths of time having transpired between the time they made 
the retreat and the time we spoke) in a conversation that was tape-recorded and 
then later transcribed. I have edited some of their comments, without changing the 
substance of what they were saying, to make them more readable in a written 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 3 

On the basis of these interviews, I am convinced that the Nineteenth 
Annotation Retreat is a particularly fruitful aid for helping lay people 
live out their vocations to the apostolate. The retreatants' prayer life 
deepens and they grow in their love of Jesus Christ and in their 
commitment to his way of thinking, acting, and living. They also 
grow in their understanding of how God is calling them specifically 
and uniquely in the contexts in which they live and work. Finally, 
the retreat helps them grow in the interior freedom they need to 
respond to this call with generosity. For these reasons, the Nine- 
teenth Annotation Retreat can be immensely important in our time, 
and can help us to put flesh and blood on the high ideals and 
exalted vision associated with the Second Vatican Council. 

Although many lay people are being drawn to this retreat in 
the years since the council, some Jesuits may find themselves unfa- 
miliar with this particular adaptation of the Exercises. This lack of 
familiarity is not surprising, since the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat 
dropped off the radar of Jesuit ministries after the first century of 
Jesuit history. 3 The analysis of the reasons for this would take an- 
other entire issue of STUDIES. Ignatius, however, clearly intended this 
as a legitimate way to make the Exercises. His intentions in this 
regard are evident in the annotation itself, which enables someone 
"who is involved in public affairs or pressing occupations but is 
educated or intelligent" to make the Exercises either in abbreviated 
or full form, by devoting an hour and a half each day to prayer 
while continuing to attend to one's responsibilities in daily life. 4 
Ignatius gave this version of the retreat himself and continued to do 
so until the end of his life. According to Ignacio Iparraguirre, S.J., 


As Gilles Cusson, S.J., has observed in a historical study of the Nineteenth 
Annotation Retreat, "It is a fact that after the first century of Jesuit history there is 
hardly any mention of this method of giving the Exercises in everyday life" (The 
Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life [St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 12). 

This particular version of the retreat explicitly included the possibility of the 
retreatant making his or her way through the full four Weeks of the Exercises. After 
referring in this annotation to the Principle and Foundation and various exercises of 
the First Week, Ignatius writes, "For the mysteries of Christ our Lord this exercitant 
should follow the same procedure as is explained below and at length throughout 
the Exercises themselves" (Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works, ed. 
George Ganss, S.J. [Mahwah, N.Y.: Paulist Press, 1991], p. 127). 

4 <& Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

After having given the Exercises in various ways at Manresa, Alcala, 
Barcelona, Paris, and Rome, towards the end of his life he confined 
himself more and more to giving the complete Exercises of one 
month, in retirement from everyday life, with all the annotations and 
rules, adapting them to the condition of certain people who could 
not entirely leave aside their business nor withdraw to some solitary 
place, in conformity with the procedure suggested in annotation 19. 5 

The various directories for the Exercises written in the sixteenth 
century also mention this retreat format as a matter of course as one 
adaptation among many. 6 Our current context, and especially the 
renewal of the lay vocation, make it opportune now for this way of 
making the Exercises to be revived. 7 

Ignacio Iparraguirre, Practica de los Ejercicios de San Ignacio de Loyola en uida de 
su autor (1522-1566) (Rome: Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus, 1946), 2. 

See the various directories for the Spiritual Exercises from this time period in 
On Giving the Spiritual Exercises, the Early Jesuit Manuscript Directories and the "Official 
Directory of 1599," ed. Martin E. Palmer (St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 

There were some scattered attempts in the U.S. Assistancy before the Second 
Vatican Council to adapt the Exercises to the situations of lay people, but the use of 
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat really began in earnest only after the council. In 
the mid 1980s Jesuits in different parts of the U.S. began giving the Nineteenth 
Annotation Retreat in a systematic way to lay people and training lay people to 
accompany others on this retreat. These initiatives continue to bear fruit to this day. 
In the years since the council, the Christian Life Communities have emphasized the 
importance of the Spiritual Exercises in the formation of their members. In the 
"General Principles and Norms of CLC," (1990) the Exercises are described as "the 
specific source and characteristic instrument" of CLC spirituality. This document 
requires all persons to make the complete Exercises prior to making a permanent 
commitment to CLC. Because it is often difficult for lay persons to find the time to 
make the thirty-day retreat, most make the Nineteenth Annotation version of the 

Some important books have also been published about the Nineteenth 
Annotation Retreat during this time period. When Fr. Joseph Labaj, then provincial 
of the Wisconsin Province, invited all of the men of his province to make the 
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat in the early 1980s, Eugene Merz, S.J. (WIS) wrote a 
booklet entitled, Place Me with Your Son: The Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life, which 
suggested prayer materials for each day of the retreat. This booklet — and this version 
of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat — was intended as a way to foster renewal in 
Jesuit life and ministries, and it included excerpts from the Constitutions and general 
congregations of the Society in the prayer material for each day. The book was later 
published by the Maryland Province and used by the Maryland, New York, and 
New England Provinces for a similar purpose. James Skehan, S.J., later revised and 

Loved into Freedom and Service & 5 

For those Jesuits who are not familiar with this retreat, I hope 
this article can serve as an introduction to the Nineteenth Annota- 
tion Retreat as it is experienced by lay people in our own time. For 
Jesuits who are familiar with the retreat and are already accompany- 
ing people through this retreat or are training others to do so, I 
hope the sustained attention to the specific ways lay people have 
found the experience helpful in their daily lives will be illuminating 
and bear fruit. 

With these purposes in mind, I have structured the essay into 
an introductory section in which I will make some general com- 
ments about how the retreatants came to know about the Nine- 
teenth Annotation Retreat, their motivations for making the retreat, 
and what they found helpful in the experience. Then I will consider 
the experience of one retreatant for each of the following themes: 
(a) the experience of being loved into freedom, (b) the Two Stan- 
dards, (c) making choices, and (d) the practice of the examen of 
consciousness. Finally, I will make some concluding remarks 
about what I have learned from these interviews about the value 
of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our time. 

I. The Experiences of Retreatants 

How did they learn about the Exercises? 

Most of the people I interviewed had some connection with 
Jesuits prior to making the Exercises. Some had attended a Jesuit 
high school or university; others belonged to a Jesuit parish. Some of 
these people had previously done weekend or eight-day retreats or 
received spiritual direction in those contexts. Several of the people in 
the Detroit area had completed a thirteen-week seminar called 
"Finding God in Daily Work," or a two-year internship program in 
Ignatian spirituality with Bernard J. Owens, a Jesuit priest from the 
Detroit Province. Both of these programs were meant to help people 

expanded this book to make it more accessible to lay people and published it as Place 
Me with Your Son: Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life, 3rd ed. (Georgetown University 
Press, Washington, D.C., 1991). In 1989 Joseph Tetlow, S.J., published Choosing Christ 
in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola according to 
Annotations Eighteen and Nineteen (St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1989). 
Tetlow's book is a handbook for directors and includes brief notes and explanations 
that can be copied and given out to retreatants at specified times during the retreat. 

6 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

grow in their awareness of God's presence in their daily lives and in 
the workplace. After each of these programs, some of the partici- 
pants made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. 8 

Informal contacts with others who had a positive experience 
making the retreat were also important for some. One woman who 
had had no prior contact with the Jesuits was a little bit leery of 
moving "into this culture of these guys" (i.e., the Jesuits) and "letting 
them take over." 

I encountered a buddy of mine who had done the Nineteenth Annota- 
tion Retreat. She recommended it to me. She actually had done Jesuit 
schooling and she worked for JVC and she was part of our Jesuit Par- 
ish and all of that. ... I really trusted her opinion. 

Relatively few retreatants had no previous contact with Jesuits 
or others who had made the retreat, and found out through adver- 
tisements in their parish bulletin or in similar ways about opportuni- 
ties to do an internship program in Ignatian spirituality and/or to 
make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. 

Some retreatants were asked whether they would like to make 
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. The invitation usually came from 
a spiritual director, or from someone who knew them well enough 
to know where they were in their spiritual lives. For one woman it 
came as a complete surprise when her spiritual director, who had 
been introducing her to contemplative prayer for over a year, sug- 
gested she consider making the Spiritual Exercises. 

Well, she might as well have been speaking Greek or speaking in 
tongues. I could have understood tongues easier than I could have 
understood the "Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. " I mean, 
Dear God! But I trusted her, I trusted her. So, she made some connec- 
tions for me. Sure enough, I felt drawn to it. So, I took the Nineteenth 
Annotation. And it was life changing and has been life changing. 

Being invited to make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat was 
decisive for several retreatants. 

Why did they make the Exercises? 

All the people I spoke with had had committed prayer lives 
for many years, as well as other important formational experiences 


After making the retreat, some of the participants also moved into formal 
training in spiritual direction. 

Loved into Freedom and Service <$- 7 

in the Christian faith before making the Exercises. Some of the 
retreatants had been involved in the charismatic-renewal movement, 
and with groups such as Cursillo or Life in the Spirit Seminar. All of 
the retreatants viewed the Exercises as a way to continue their 
progress in the Christian life. Some spoke of this as a way to deepen 
their relationship with God, others as a way of growing closer to 

For some, their job or other circumstances in life influenced 
their decision to make the Exercises. One woman, a campus minister 
at a Jesuit university, put it this way: 

At the time I was working in this Jesuit university, I was being 
called upon to talk about Ignatius, to talk about Jesuit this and Jesuit 
that. I was surrounded by people now, in this area, who love Jesuits. 
Jesuits were up on a pedestal. I was sitting here thinking, "What is 
up with this Jesuit stuff"? 

As part of the formation program for deacons in one archdio- 
cese, the men training for the diaconate and their wives made the 
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. This was the context in which two 
of the women with whom I spoke made the retreat. These women 
and their husbands now accompany other such couples through the 
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. 

None of the retreatants made the retreat to help them make a 
major decision. While making the Exercises, however, they did end 
up looking at decisions they had already made or would make in 
the future. One retreatant, for example, was trying to decide wheth- 
er she needed to leave a marriage that was difficult and, at times, 
emotionally abusive. Another was trying to decide whether to get 
married to someone he had had a close relationship with for many 
years. Many said their experience of making the Exercises and 
learning about things such as discernment and the examen of con- 
sciousness began to influence how they would make choices, both 
large and small. 

What did they find helpful? 

All of the retreatants emphasized that the retreat made them 
much more aware of God's loving and redeeming presence in the 
world and in their own lives than they were before. As one retreat- 
ant put it, 

8 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

Before I did the Exercises, God was kind of out there. He was pretty 
far away. He was pretty disconnected. And if I were to tell you one 
thing that was a hallmark of the Exercises for me, it would be — you 
know, I thought I knew God and I thought I knew Jesus, But the 
Exercises brought me into a whole new realm of intimacy that was 
pretty mind-blowing, really. 

Important in this respect was a new awareness of the depth of 
God's love for them personally. This was foundational for all of 
them, although each person experienced it differently. One retreat- 
ant found herself asking the question, "Who am I?" during the first 
few months of the retreat and realized that it wasn't that she was 
the sister of so-and-so and the wife of so-and-so, etc., but that she 
was a child of God, pure and simple. As she became more convinced 
that her identity was rooted in God's love, she felt a new freedom 
with regard to the way she related to others. 

Many retreatants said that the emphasis on God's love was 
different from what they had learned while growing up. Several of 
the retreatants who grew up in the pre- Vatican II Church expressed 
a frustration with having been led to believe that the point of the 
Christian life consisted primarily in keeping rules or in doing good 
deeds. As one man put it, "I was raised with, I am going to give money 
to the Patna Missions. Tm going to make so many novenas, I am going to 
do so much of that. " When making the Exercises, on the other hand, 
he said: 

You see what Jesus meant and God entering into humanity, that says 
God initiates and Tm lovable. . . . One of the things that really lived 
for me is, who are the people he associated with? The outcasts, the 
woman at the well — I love that story — the leper, the "Prodigal Son" 
is an incredible story. Just great stories of the love of God. I have a 
little thing in my mirror, it says, "God loves the person in the 
mirror. " So you look at that every morning when you get up. God 
loves the person in the mirror, me! What the Exercises did is give me 
a depth of feeling as to what Jesus and Mary went through, and I 
include Mary very much in that, out of love for me. That then is 
starting to transfer from the intellectual-historical into a depth of 
feeling and intimacy. The Exercises really brought that home to me. 

The profound experience of being loved by God did not give 
them license to do anything they wanted, however. Rather, this 
intimate experience of love gave them a new motivation to live their 

Loved into Freedom and Service <$- 9 

own lives in a loving manner. A male real-estate developer put it 
this way: 

There are certainly some practice issues involved with being able to 
categorize things as good and bad. But what I began to think about or 
have more faith in, was this idea that if God loves me that much, 
then what do I do with that? . . . The answer is to live in that love 
and to live with that love, to live out of love. 

And if God loves me that much and I am living out of that love, 
then, how could I do these things that are not loving? How could I 
do something that is not loving? 

Ignatian contemplation of the gospel scenes was new for all of 
the retreatants. And they appreciated this form of prayer because it 
was a way for them to become engaged with all aspects of their 
person — the body, imagination, senses, feelings, and thoughts — with 
the scriptural accounts of the life of Christ. They provided many 
examples of how their engagement in this kind of prayer played a 
crucial role in their coming to know, love, and follow Christ more 
closely. Generally speaking, the effect of this closer following of 
Christ was to expand their hearts in a compassionate way toward a 
wider circle of humanity, and especially toward the poor, suffering, 
oppressed, or marginalized. 

Although none of the retreatants made the retreat because 
they were making a major decision, when they were making the 
Exercises they began to think about the choices they had already 
made in their lives and the ones that were still in front of them. 
Virtually all of the retreatants commented on the importance of 
making choices out of a deeper sense of being loved by God and of 
growing intimacy with Jesus. As their relationship with Jesus deep- 
ened and as they became more attracted to his way of thinking and 
living, they said they were less attached to what was financially 
lucrative or prestigious or even to what other people wanted them 
to do when they would make choices. 

Most of the people I spoke with did not use technical termi- 
nology when discussing discernment, but they seemed to have 
picked up the basics of Ignatius's principles as expressed in the Rules 
for Discernment, either through readings, conversations with their 
spiritual directors, or by attending talks or workshops on the subject. 
They tended to sift through and understand what they learned in 

10 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, SJ. 

these contexts in dialogue with their own experiences of making 

With respect to major life decisions, virtually all of the retreat- 
ants emphasized that a good choice or decision would be accompa- 
nied by a sense of "rightness" or "fit" and by peace. On the other 
hand, they would know if a major decision was not a good one 
because of a sense of agitation, a lack of fit, and a loss of peace. 
Some mentioned that it was important to pay attention to this 
dimension of one's experience over time, however. Some agitation or 
disturbance might simply be a part of life, or related to the cross that 
one is being called to bear in his or her present situation. According 
to the retreatants' descriptions, the peace that God gives was experi- 
enced at a deeper level, and could be present in the midst of pain 
and difficulties or in joyful and happy times. 

II. Loved into Freedom 

When you're an advocate for a child you make enemies, which I 
kind of hadn't thought of. 

Susan 9 

One of the most important things the retreatants experienced 
during the retreat was a profound sense of God's love for the world 
and for them. In every case this experience of God's love proved to 
be foundational for the rest of the retreat. And in every case it 
brought them to a new level of interior freedom. This new freedom, 
they felt, allowed them to be the people God was calling them to be 
and to follow Christ more closely. 

Susan's story illustrates well the way the experience of being 
loved by God can lead to greater interior freedom, which then 
enables one to follow Christ more closely. She is a counselor in a 
public elementary school and works with students with emotional 
problems and learning disabilities. She also teaches a course on 
parenting skills at the school and has taught the counseling-skills 
sessions in the Spiritual Direction Program at the local Jesuit retreat 

I am using pseudonyms for the four retreatants whose experiences I will 
discuss in this article, and for other people (family members, friends, etc.) they 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 11 

Susan had an especially important experience of God's love for 
her while praying with the story of Christ's birth. She described this 
in the following part of her interview: 

In St. Ignatius' s way of praying we were taught to put ourselves in 
the scene. I would love to do that. My favorite was at Christmas. I 
was the baby sitter. That would be very alive. . . . Obviously at 
Christmas I got to hold the baby Jesus. 

In a later part of the interview she described praying with this scene. 

I would just start to visualize the scene. I wouldn't consciously think 
where I would be — J would just show up. And in this one I realized I 
was a kid, and I was the baby sitter. I had offered to do that. I had 
asked to do that: "Could I please be the baby sitter?" Because, you 
know, they really needed a break. They were tired. And how could I 
get my hands on that baby, basically? [laughing]. 

One of the benefits of making the Exercises over the course of 
nine months is that the longer period of time allows for some of the 
experiences of prayer to sink in, even as one is going about one's 
ordinary activities. Susan pointed out that the graces associated with 
her prayer didn't stay in the forty minutes or hour set aside for 

I would be reflecting or gaining insights as Im driving to work. It 
would just kind of pop into my head more and more as the year 
progressed. So I was starting to make connections and insights would 

Some of these insights and connections had to do with trau- 
matic things she experienced while growing up. She was initially 
disappointed when she started remembering these things, because 
she had already dealt with these issues in other ways and thought 
they were behind her. During this time, she talked with a Jesuit 
director, who suggested that perhaps she had worked through these 
things psychologically, but not yet spiritually. She found this sugges- 
tion helpful, and said she in fact did experience another level of 
healing during the retreat. An important part of the healing hap- 
pened while she was praying with the Nativity scene. 

I remember the part when I was in the Nativity scene, Mary called 
me "daughter, " and for the first time in my life it was okay to be a 
daughter. So there was that whole movement then into — I can iden- 

12 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

tify myself with the daughter now. . . . So the overflow is tremen- 

Asked to describe what the experience when Mary called her daugh- 
ter was like, she said: 

She looked at me and I had the baby. And she just called me daugh- 
ter. It was just very powerful, very moving and very affectionate. 
And I heard it as affectionate. . . . 

But to have it expressed with such affection and warmth — and 
because I was visually there and could hear the word, could see her 
face and just be enveloped into that warmth. Even with all she had 
been through, she could look at somebody else and think of somebody 
else and be grateful that somebody picked up her baby or helped in 
any way. It was powerful. 

When asked if she had any beliefs that influenced the way she 
prayed or if her prayer influenced what she believed, she replied: 

Yes, absolutely! All of a sudden it was okay to be a daughter. Then it 
was okay to pray to Abba. And some of that had come earlier. I was 
doing journaling and came up with this description of God . . . 
distant, judgmental, harsh, condemning. . . . 

. . . But it was during the Exercises, the experience of being called 
daughter — that all of a sudden — it was Mary first. 

Susan's experiences while making the Exercises contributed to 
a profound change in her self-conception and how she related to 
others. For example, she began to realize that she had a tendency 
always to do or say things she thought would please others. This 
way of relating to others kept her from taking the risks involved in 
saying what she thought or how she felt, especially in situations of 
conflict. The experience she was having of being loved by God was 
leading to a new kind of freedom in this regard. As she puts it, 

I think when you are loved and its okay to be a daughter, its okay to 
be who you are, you start taking risks that I never would have taken, 
fust the fact that its okay that people don't all like me — and its part 
of my job — I wouldn't have been able to live with before. But it 
doesn't matter if these people don't like me, because Tm loved. 

It turns out that as Susan was making the Nineteenth Annota- 
tion Retreat, she began to find herself in situations of conflict in her 
daily life. These situations provided her with an opportunity to put 

Loved into Freedom and Service 4f 13 

into practice the new way of relating to others that she was feeling 
called to in her prayer. The situations were ones where she was 
feeling called to act on behalf of others less fortunate, the kinds of 
actions that Jesus calls his disciples to take in the gospels. 10 In her job 
as an elementary-school counselor, for example, she felt some of the 
teachers were not attentive enough to the special needs of the 
children who were struggling with emotional problems and learning 
disabilities. She would tell the teachers that they can't be expecting 
the same behavior from these students as they would from others. 
The teachers insisted on doing things the way they had for years, 
however, telling her that the children have to be ready for the 
world. Susan said that in the past she would have shied away from 
a conflict such as this with the teachers. 

I would have avoided conflict. I do not like conflict. But when you 
know that you're loved and that this is your vocation and God has 
confirmed that — you can mess with me, but don't mess with my kids! 

Susan was involved in another situation of conflict at this time. 
The year before she began the Exercises, her nineteen-year-old son 
Thomas was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle. She 
found out that there had been seven accidents in five months at the 
intersection where Thomas died, the seventh resulting in his death. 
In fact, before her son's accident several people had written letters to 
the county officials over the course of many years insisting that 
something be done about this intersection, but the county took no 
action. After considering her options, she decided that filing a 
lawsuit against the county was the most likely way to get the county 
to take action to make the intersection safer. The other people in the 
group making the retreat were surprised she was filing the suit, and 
her children tried to persuade her not to do it. And I said: "I cannot 
not do it. " Because if somebody before Thomas had done it, they would have 
fixed the intersection. 

While praying with Matthew's Gospel, Susan was struck by how much of 
Jesus' ministry was devoted to healing people. She felt a call to participate in this 
healing ministry, specifically, in her work at the school with children with emotional 
difficulties and learning disabilities. She initially resisted, not feeling worthy, but over 
time it became clear to her that this was how God was calling her. "What really came 
out in the Exercises was God telling me to 'Be my compassion.' It was just — it was 

14 <$► Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

So she filed the lawsuit, with the hope of preventing others 
from being injured or losing their lives and other parents from 
having to suffer the agony she was experiencing. Even she was 
surprised at her boldness in the process, however: "But again, this 
was where, "Who is this -person? was coming out. I was surprised that I did 
it and kept going." Susan was not able to be in court on the first day 
of the trial and the judge threw the case out — something not al- 
lowed by law. When she came to the courthouse the next day, she 
insisted on speaking to the judge, but was told that the judge would 
not speak to her, since the case had been thrown out. 

And I said to the court reporter, "Well, Im not leaving until I speak 
to her. " He said, "No, you would best go home. She's dismissed it. " J 
said: "Well, she's an elected official. Im not leaving until I speak to 
her. " The lawyer was even looking at me. I said to the judge: "You 
know, you can't do this." And she said: "I know. And I would hate to 
be in your position — trying to find a reason for your son's death. " 
And all of a sudden I said: "Thafs why Im here— so you never have 
to do that. I just want to prevent this. " So she put it back in. 

When she was on the stand, Susan's lawyer asked her why 
she was suing the county. 

And the other lawyer objected. And the judge said: "No. I want to 
hear this" [both laugh]. And I said: "Im a teacher. We're held ac- 
countable all the time. You would think that County — one 

of the five richest counties in the United States — you just assume 
this is done right. Then we find out that letters were sent ten or 
twelve years ago. Troy High said that this is a dangerous intersec- 
tion. "Okay, we'll fix it." Then there's another letter. Then they put 
up a new obstruction and there's seven accidents within five 
months — the seventh being my son. I can't let there be eight, nine, 
and ten. 

During the case the lawyers for the county were telling Susan 
that nobody had ever won a case against the county and were 
suggesting in not so subtle ways that she was at fault for what 
happened to her son. 

They had this pre-meeting where they did everything in their power 
to intimidate me. They actually told me I was a terrible parent. That 
I didn't know where my son was. I said he was a mile and a half 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 15 

from home. It was ten o'clock and he was nineteen and he was going 
seven miles an hour. Yeah. You can't really go that route. 

Susan won the lawsuit, which meant the county would be making 
adjustments at the intersection. 

As I mentioned earlier, Susan came to experience herself as a 
daughter of the God whom she could address as "Abba" during the 
course of the Exercises. This realization was profoundly healing and 
gave her the strength and confidence to live in a bolder way — inspired 
by Christ's own life-for-others, and in particular for those who were 
suffering or overlooked. Her newfound sense of trust in God's love 
allowed her the freedom to forget about herself, in a sense, or about 
how others perceived her and to focus on the needs of those she was 
serving. This holy boldness even stayed with her in the courtroom 
when she was told her case was dismissed, and when attorneys for the 
county attempted to blame her for her son's death. When the judge said 
she would hate to be in her position, trying to find a reason for her 
son's death (an attempt to suggest that this was Susan's problem, and 
was going to be dismissed by the court), Susan used the judge's very 
words to persuade her of the importance of going forward. 11 

III. The Two Standards 

There are certain things about the Exercises that I love. I love the fact 
that Ignatius speaks about liberty. Christians are often the most 
bound people on the planet. No wonder people aren't drawn to us. I 
mean, who wants morbidity and more bondage? Ignatius speaks 
about freedom. We are free to choose, we are free to discern. We 
are free to go after whatever flag, and we are free to go back and 
live his life. 


Susan's story reminded me of Jesus' words to his disciples in Luke's Gospel: 
"When they bring you before . . . rulers and authorities, do not worry about how to 
defend yourselves or what to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all 
that should be said" (Luke 12:11-12). Susan herself felt that she was being helped by 
the Spirit in some sense in this process. The point of her story was that she was 
encouraged and strengthened by her new sense of God's love for her and did not 
have to shy away from conflict. She felt that she was being "given," in some sense, 
the courage and resources — even the words — to act on behalf of others (in this case, 
trying to prevent needless suffering). 

16 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

Maureen is the co-owner and vice-president of a company on 
the West Coast that she and her husband founded in 1989; it pro- 
vides short-term training to injured workers, preparing them for 
employment in the health-insurance industry, the medical field, and 
in the business community in general. Their course offerings include 
courses in the areas of medical-claims processing and com- 
puter-based business skills. Maureen works with the employees and 
sees her work to be critical to the company's goals. 

I deal with the people, the employees, to encourage, to lift up, to 
admonish, and to give them hope in what they are doing. Almost all 
of our students are injured workers. So they come angry, they come 
fearful. So our job is to say, "You may never go back to the employ- 
ment that you had, but there is a future and there is a hope and there 
is a dream that you can resurrect. " So, I believe my role for the staff 
is to continue to build them up, because they deal on a day-to-day 
basis with injured workers. 

Some of the retreatants were frustrated with what they felt 
was an overemphasis in the pre-Vatican II Church on following 
rules, but frustration was not limited to those who were raised as 
Catholic. Maureen, who was raised in the Assemblies of God 
Church, experienced something similar during her childhood. As she 
remembers it, in her church "salvation" was "dependent on things such 
as if you wore make-up, or if you went to the movies, or if you swore. 
Which I did all three. " Because of the discrepancy between these moral 
norms and the way she was living, she was often anxious about 
where she stood in relation to the "salvation" question. 

I used to stand out in front of the movies and stand in line and say, 
"Please Jesus do not come, please Jesus do not come until I am out of 
the movies." I mean, it is just hysterical [laughter]. . . . It really was 
always based on fear, not on love. It was whether or not you loved 
God, not whether or not He loved you. So, it was conditional. 

Maureen had a very different experience during the Exercises 
while praying with the account of Jesus' baptism in the Gospel of 
John. After contemplating the baptism of Jesus, she walked into the 
river and was baptized herself. 

And I come out of the water and I hear, "This is my beloved daugh- 
ter, this is my beloved and I take delight in her. " I am so in the scene 
and I am thinking, "Oh, yes." When Jesus comes and he stands 

Loved into Freedom and Service «0> 17 

behind me, I don't see him but I know he is there and I hear him 
speak into this ear, "Did you hear it?" And I am saying, "Oh, I did, I 
did, I heard, I heard the thought. " Then he speaks into my other ear 
and he says, "Did you really hear it?" So, then I have to take and sit 
with "I am his beloved and he takes delight in me and do I, honest to 
God, believe it?" 

The Two Standards were particularly important and helpful 
for Maureen, inasmuch as they alerted her to ways in which she 
could be diverted from living a life rooted in the love of God and 
reaching out to others in love. Maureen was drawn to this medita- 
tion, in part, because of the military imagery involved. She talked 
about how as a young girl she would paint pictures of Joan of Arc in 
art class, and that she chose Teresa as her confirmation name after 
Teresa of Avila, whose "daddy had to go after her [when] she was going 
to fight the heathens." 

I realized that there is a militancy, obviously, that I was drawn to. In 
the Exercises, probably one of my favorite things and one of the 
things that I live with daily, is the standards, the two flags. In that 
medieval army, if you didn't keep your eye on the flag bearer, you 
could forget what army you were in. I was just drawn to that. 11 

As Maureen understood it, the standard of Satan was associ- 
ated with power, riches, and fame and the standard of Christ with 
poverty and humility. She came to realize she had to be careful 
about the attraction of the first standard in her day-to-day life at 
work. She mentioned in particular the attraction of being in control 
of people and situations or in a position of power over others. 

When I find that in even the smallest detail, if I have got to be the 
one that has the last word, if I have got to be the one that has got to 
be in control, [if] I am moving towards a need to have the power, I 
have to pull back and ask myself, Have I taken my eyes off Christ? 

Maureen recognized the reality that she was in a position of 
power at her work place in relation to the employees. But she was 
sensitive to the difference between using this power in a domineer- 
ing way and using it — in a relational context — to empower the other 

Some commentators caution directors that the imagery in the Exercises — and 

the military imagery in particular — can be disturbing and therefore unhelpful for 

women. Maureen appears to be an exception in this regard. 

18 ^ Patrick M Kelly, S.J. 

person. She understood the latter to be more in line with the stan- 
dard of Christ. 

The other day here at the office, I had to deal with an employee in a 
correcting situation. Now I have the power over her because I am her 
employer. However, I felt that I needed to give her the room to 
explain where she was coming from. I had to let go of that power that 
said, but this is what you did and this is the result of it; instead, I 
must ask her if she would like to tell her story so that we could come 
to a shared understanding of what was going on, so that I am not 
holding on to the power over anybody 's life. When I do that, because I 
have a bit of a dynamic personality — when I do that, I know that I 
have taken my eyes off my flag bearer. 

Q: When you try to have control over somebody? 

When I have to win the argument. I really struggle. One of the 
things that I really, really struggle with is truth is truth is truth, 
and to allow someone else to stand in truth as they see it. That is 
difficult for me. So, I ask for the grace, "Lord help me, grant me the 
grace to allow someone to stand in the truth as they see it, for where 
they are. " 

She also began to realize that living according to Jesus' stan- 
dard might mean that other people do not understand her at times, 
which she found difficult to accept. 

The other grace that I ask for when I am looking at his flag is that I 
will not always be understood. And I have this great desire and 
penchant to be understood. I can not stand to be misunderstood. 

Maureen said she barely made it through the movie The 
Shawshank Redemption, a film about a bank executive who is wrongly 
accused of murdering his wife and her lover and suffers terrible 
abuse in prison for years before his escape. 

But, he gets out of prison, and he knows that he is innocent, and he 
knows that he has a way to prove it now, but instead, he just takes 
the money that he has hidden and goes to Mexico and builds boats. I 
am screaming in my head, "Take an ad out in the New York Times, 
publish it. You are innocent. " I really have to ask for the grace to 
stand when I am misunderstood because that is humility that leads to 
humiliations. Then I am not trying to be either in control or power- 
ful, but being willing to be misunderstood and not feeling that I have 
to make it right. 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 19 

.".V.V.'.V.'.*. .. -..-.-... • ■ - • • * ...... .V. ••" .V. .,.*.. .*.*.*.■.• * . V.V.V.*.*.V.V.*.V. • 

The Two Standards were also very important as a guideline 
for a decision Maureen was making about her involvement in 
ministry outside the workplace. In order to understand this aspect of 
her life, we have to backtrack a bit. After her difficult childhood 
experiences of growing up in the Assembly of God Church, Maureen 
had many other important experiences before she made the Nine- 
teenth Annotation Retreat. One in particular was life changing. After 
she graduated from the university, she married and had two chil- 
dren. When she was delivering her third child, a daughter, there 
were complications. In the midst of the trauma she was undergoing 
in the delivery room, she said she had an experience of Christ's 

When it was all over, the doctor said to me, I had tears running 
down my cheeks, and he said, "Oh honey, I am so sorry we didn't 
know that it was going to happen, it was just one of these freak kinds 
of things. " 7 wanted to say, "Be quiet, he quiet, be quiet. I am not 
weeping because of that, I am weeping because Jesus was here and I 
don't know how he got here because I haven't kept the rules. I don't 
know how he got here and I don't know if he will come again. " So, I 
lived on that experience for several years. 

After this experience of Christ's presence during the successful 
but complicated birth of her daughter, she began to pray regularly, 
participate in Bible studies, and read widely in the area of Christian 
spirituality. She started a popular Bible-story-telling group for chil- 
dren. She also became a much-sought-after Christian speaker to 
Protestant groups in America and abroad for about thirty years. 
These ministries earned her the Bishop's Cross, the most prestigious 
honor a lay person can receive in the Episcopal Church. 13 

After she had made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, her 
life was moving in different directions, however. She and her hus- 
band had become Catholics. She did a three year internship in 
spiritual direction. During this time, while speaking at a Presbyterian 
retreat, she had an experience where she felt God was gently draw- 
ing her away from the ministry as a Christian speaker. This was not 
easy for her. 


She and her husband had joined the Episcopal Church after they were 


20 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

Well okay, after thirty years of speaking you become pretty well 
known in my little world. I was in a Presbyterian retreat, walking 
into my bedroom, getting ready for my next talk. I had this sense 
that the Lord was saying that this was the last time that I would do 
anything like this. . . . But it was real scary because it is thirty years 
of giving your heart to it and being, in my little world, famous. 

Asked if this experience was related to the Two Standards, she 
said: "Well, I didn't realize it at the time except I felt what will happen — / 
mean, who will I be? Who will I be?" She referred to a group of four 
women speakers who traveled the country and would fill large 
venues such as the Rose Bowl and Anaheim Stadium. One of her 
daughters tried to encourage her to participate in this ministry. 

She said, "Momma, you could be a part of that; you are as good as 
they are. You could be a part of that. " I said, "But it holds no attrac- 
tion for me; it is not where my heart is." Then I realized that I didn't 
need it. I didn't need the power that goes with it and I didn't need 
the fame that goes with it, and in some ways, the riches in those 
situations that go with it. So, I began to just say, "Jesus, then what 
do you have for me?" 

During this time, Maureen had an important experience while 
praying with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. As the 
story is told in John's Gospel, Jesus had asked the woman for a 
drink of water from the well. She asked him how he, a Jew, could 
ask her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink of water (since Jews and 
Samaritans share nothing in common). According to John's Gospel, 
Jesus responded, "If you only knew the gift of God, and who is 
saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he 
would have given you living water" (John 4:10). The part of the 
story that touched Maureen was the first four words: "If you only 
knew. " "All I got to was If you only knew' If you only knew.' Just those 
words, If you only knew' " 

She continued to pray with these four words and wrote in her 
journal about the prayer experiences to try to understand their 
significance for her life. Asked if the journaling process led her to 
any awarenesses, she replied: 

Well yes, "if I only knew" that I would — I have never liked small 
groups. I am not much of a groupie. So, the large groups are fine, 
and for me, I am quite safe in a large group especially if I am the 
speaker. And yet, I am drawn now to small groups. I am drawn 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 22 

where I can go eyeball to eyeball and encourage them to be conscious. 
So, last night in my home I started a group that has done the anno- 

Maureen had accompanied these people through the Nine- 
teenth Annotation Retreat and was providing spiritual direction for 
them now. They wanted to continue to meet as a group in some 
fashion as well. 

So, there were twelve of them last night. If somebody had told me 
that I would be taking my time with a hearts desire, if I had only 
known that the Nineteenth Annotation, those Exercises, contempla- 
tive prayer, letting go of what I had known for thirty years, and now 
shutting the doors to my house, lighting a candle, and being with a 
small group of people, and finding sheer joy in journeying with them, 
I would never have believed it. But I would never have believed the 
previous thirty years either. But, this seems different and deeper to 
me and I am not discounting anything else that I might have done or 
been effective at. But, I love, I love, absolutely love seeing people 
having an "Aha" moment. 

IV. Making Choices 

The Exercises reminded me of Ignatius's notion that somehow we're 
created to praise, honor, and serve God, and in a kind of slightly less 
stilted vernacular, it means that I am here for a reason and that 
reason has something to do with serving God and that serving God 
is going to look something like the way God served other people 
when he was a human being, so Jesus' life. 


James is a professor of political science at a public university in 
the Midwest, whose research interests have to do with the countries 
of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and 
the former Yugoslavia, especially Croatia. He has been a consultant 
to the political leaders of Slovakia and Croatia, and writes editorial 
columns related to his areas of research. While he was still an under- 
graduate student, he became interested in what was going on in the 
former Czechoslovakia after hearing Vaclav Havel (then president of 
Czechoslovakia) speak when he was in Washington, D.C., to address 
the U.S. Congress in 1990. President Havel personally invited college 
students to come to Czechoslovakia to teach English, and something 

22 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

about the democratic traditions of the West. James did so the year 
after he graduated. He worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for 
one year after that, and then started graduate studies in political 
science. At that time Czechoslovakia was splitting apart, with the 
two halves moving in very different directions. 

And it was, for a social scientist, an almost perfect experiment be- 
cause you've got one country that had the same conditions, the same 
institutional structure for seventy years splitting in half And it 
looked like at the time, and this is what actually happened, the two 
halves were going to move in different directions. So I went to 
Slovakia, learned the language, which is mutually comprehensible 
with Czech, and started to do field work and that is how it moved in 
that direction. 

James was first introduced to Ignatian retreats while an under- 
graduate student at a Jesuit university. He described himself as 
having been "fairly strongly agnostic" through his adolescence, until 
the age of twenty, when he made his first five-day Ignatian retreat. 
During that retreat he returned to a belief in God that has not 
altered dramatically since. Indeed, he said the experiences he had on 
that retreat "laid the foundation for everything that I have come to since 

If the foundation was laid with the first retreat, James said that 
it took many retreats to alter his value system fundamentally. He 
described himself as being very competitive and self-interested when 
he first arrived at the university. Because of the retreats, he said he 
was becoming more compassionate and concerned about others and 
the world around him. When he would come back from the retreats 
his friends also noticed that he was different and would comment 
on it. The difference didn't necessarily last a long time, however, and 
"the more compassionate, more caring me kind of ebbed, I think, back to 
what I was more comfortable with." But gradually, over time, the re- 
treats had an influence. 

Each time that I do this there is more of a residual level on the 
bottom. I am more that person than I was before I did it, and it kind 
of peaks and then some of that wipes away, but not all of it. So 
there's more of it left each time. So I really do think that it played a 
critical role at a couple of critical points in my life in moving me in 
the direction of more compassion, more concern for social justice, 
more concern for other people. I think it was real important in that 

Loved into Freedom and Service <$> 23 


regard, actually. I became more conscious that it wasn't all about me. 
There was something bigger, more important. 

He made other retreats while in college, and was aware that 
the Jesuits for whom he worked would periodically leave to make 
their own eight-day and thirty-day retreats. He worked for a Jesuit 
who "talked constantly about the Exercises," and who made the Princi- 
ple and Foundation an explicit matter for reflection in the work- 
place. And so he was familiar with the Spiritual Exercises and had 
some appreciation for them when he came home from doing some 
work abroad in 1999 to discover that his wife had signed up to make 
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat at their Jesuit parish. She asked if 
he, too, wanted to make the retreat. There was one space left, and 
James signed up. 

The Nineteenth Annotation Retreat deepened what James had 
experienced in the earlier retreats, particularly the experience of 
being loved by God and called to be compassionate and loving 
toward others. During both the earlier retreats and in the Nine- 
teenth Annotation one, James was discovering a self, "a more compas- 
sionate, more caring me" whose desires and aspirations could be 
trusted, because they were related to the kind of person God was 
calling him to be. And this realization has influenced how he has 
made the major decisions of his life. 

Here I really am influenced by the Ignatian notion that underneath it 
all my real desire does have something to do with God and Gods 
desire. And so, Tve used, in particular, the mechanism with big 
decisions of getting up one morning and imagining my life as if I had 
chosen option A and trying to get up the next morning and imagine 
my life as if I had chosen option B. And I did that when choosing 
graduate schools, I did that when choosing jobs. And so I think the 
idea that somewhere inside of me is the capacity to know what is 
more and what is less of what God would want me to do, and more 
or less what I really want — that notion has been at the basis of those 

Similar to the other retreatants, James said he takes his feelings 
seriously when he is making a significant choice. By doing so, he can 
become aware of what the "full T" wants, as he puts it. 

I think a kind of a cost-benefit weighing is nice but I don't put as 
much stock in that as in emotional response, gut feeling, this idea of 
waking up with option A in mind and seeing how it makes me feel — 

24 <f Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

whether it makes me happy, concerned, anxious. I think ifs a real 
sign for me. I don't know how accurate it is but at least Ive taken 
that as a sign of what — somehow beyond the conscious mind the full 
"V is feeling or thinking. So I think its sort of taking the options and 
subjecting them to the full person and not just the intellect. 

He used this approach when deciding which graduate school 
to attend, which has had long-term consequences for his profes- 
sional life. 

When I discerned, I had a choice between entering the University of 
Chicago, Chicago being by far the more prestigious school. A school in 
the city where I was already living, but my visit there was one that 
filled me with a lot of anxiety for a variety of reasons. Because it 
looked forbidding, also kind of anonymous, also aggressively theoreti- 
cal, as they called themselves, whereas the Notre Dame visit fit much 
more with, not necessarily my intellectual aspirations, but I think 
with who I felt I was at the time. And I remember spending the two 
days, the Chicago day and the Notre Dame day where I would try 
and see how it made me feel. I felt much more relaxed, much more 
comfortable with the Notre Dame option. Now, I don't know how it 
would have happened had I gone to Chicago, but I know that I got at 
Notre Dame the things that I was probably looking for in a way that 
I might not have gotten them from Chicago. There was, is, a norma- 
tive aspect to the kind of academic work done at Notre Dame that I 
don't think you'd see in Chicago. There were a whole variety of ways 
that I think the decision really did fit more who I was and who I 
wanted to become. 

James associated feeling more relaxed and comfortable while at 
Notre Dame with being in a place where he could be himself and 
could grow into the person God was calling him to be. This was a 
theme he returned to often: "There was something about that decision 
that said to me that I would be more — um — well, I would be more me if I 
chose the one over the other." 

He also mentioned that it was important to pay attention to 
his fears when making a significant decision. He distinguished 
between fears which were related to his own psychological history, 
which it would be important to face, and other fears that served for 
him as a warning sign that he was moving in a direction that rubbed 
against his deepest self and desires. When considering a given 
option, he said, he can sometimes feel "This is not who I want to be. I 

Loved into Freedom and Service -$- 25 

am afraid of the person that I would be if I made this decision, or afraid of 
becoming that person. " 

James said that the experience of going through this process of 
decision making in his own life, which he feels has borne fruit, 
influences how he interacts with students. For one thing, he takes 
the time to talk with students about the decisions they are making in 
their lives. 

I spend a lot of time talking to them about where they want to be, 
what land of person they want to be, what kind of career they should 
pursue to be that kind of person. I think all of which is really related 
to this sort of Ignatian approach about discernment of vocation and 
other things. . . . So, it certainly influenced me in that regard. 

He has also found ways to allow the "more compassionate, more 
caring' part of him to come through in the classroom, and to chal- 
lenge his students to discover that part of themselves. Since making 
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, he has rewritten his syllabi to 
incorporate social-justice themes more fully into his classes. When he 
teaches from these syllabi, he says that he feels that he is being the 
person God is calling him to be. 

Yeah, I really accept this notion that somewhere buried under every- 
thing is a me that looks like the kind of me that a God, a loving God 
would create. I am certainly not that in most of my daily life. So I 
mean I do feel as if there is that kind of identity there in a still- 
limited form. But it does feel that way, when Im able to get the 
social-justice message across. I do a little exercise with students where 
I divide them up according to the 1960 world distribution of income. 
I try to make sure that the wealthier students in the class get pissed 
off at the wealth that the rich have on the other side of the room. 
Then I update it with the 1995 world distribution, which would 
mean taking away some of the little that they have and giving it to 
the other people on the other side. I have the satisfaction in seeing 
that work in a way thatfs almost unrivaled in any of my teaching 
experiences. So yeah, it does feel that way. It feels like Tm doing the 
right thing. The same is true in a couple of book groups that my wife 
and I are in, and in the Social Justice Committee in our parish which 
is re-forming. So yeah, there are a couple of circumstances in which it 
really does feel like, "Yeah, this is what I should be. " 

The decision he made to attend Notre Dame for graduate 
studies, in part because of the department's approach to political 

26 <$► Patrick M. Kelly, SJ. 

science that took normative considerations into account, has had 
long-term consequences for the way he does his work. He is not 
satisfied with only publishing in academic journals or presenting 
papers at academic conferences, although he does these things. He 
also hopes to have an influence on people's lives in the parts of the 
world he studies. 

I see myself to be more active than some of my colleagues in using 
what I find in descriptive, analytical academic research in a norma- 
tive context. Which means writing opinionated editorial pieces; it 
means doing a sort of consulting work, not only on what I see but 
what I feel ought to be done. I deal with countries, which are only 
recently democratic, and Ive spent quite a bit of time trying to work 
with people who work in and with those countries on solidifying, 
consolidating those democracies. . . . When people don't have the right 
to talk about other ways of redistributing income because someone in 
power is preventing them from doing it, democracy is taking first 
place in my mind. As these countries consolidate, however, my 
research is increasingly going to be pointed at the question of social 
democracy and of kind of equitable resolution of ethnic conflicts. A 
couple of countries I study have larger groups that dominate smaller 
ones and produce a variety of unjust circumstances. So, yeah, Igna- 
tian spirituality really does play a role in why I research what I 
research, and what I do with that research. Itfs not for me just a 
question of publication but its a question of direct — getting involved 
sometimes. Not so much that it destroys my so-called objectivity or 
credibility, but enough that I can feel like Im actually playing some 
kind of a role. 

V. Examen of Consciousness 

We're not just looking back to something that happened or some 
words somebody wrote several thousand years ago, wrote them 
down and now we have something to follow. It's living, breathing, 
supporting, guiding, loving all the time, and transforming all the 
time. I don't know how strong my beliefs in all those things were 
five or ten years ago, but they're dead center in how I move now. 


One of the more challenging aspects of any retreat experience 
lies in finding ways to allow the graces of this special time to be- 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 27 


come a part of retreatants' lives as they return to their ordinary 
routines. For the retreatants I spoke with, this meant, How does one 
continue to live one's life out of a deep sense of being loved by God 
and called to be a follower of Christ, as one goes about one's daily 
responsibilities? And, in particular, how does one discern how God 
is leading one in the midst of the circumstances of everyday life? Of 
course, the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat is unique, in the sense 
that the retreat itself is made in the context of daily life. But still, it is 
a special time when one is spending more time in prayer than usual, 
and talking with a spiritual director more regularly. This kind of 
retreat, in other words, still involves a transition back to one's ordi- 
nary routine. 

For Ignatius, the examen of conscience was one of the most 
helpful ways to stay attuned to the graces and challenges or tempta- 
tions in one's daily life. In our time, this is commonly referred to as 
the examen of consciousness, and involves paying attention to places 
where one stands in need of God's mercy and forgiveness, as well as 
to the consolations and desolations of a given time period. This 
practice was important for Michael as he moved back into his ordi- 
nary life and routines after the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. 
When asked about his current spiritual practices, one of the first 
things Michael mentioned was the examen. 

The examen process is another thing that I try to do with some 
regularity — that process of really being aware of Gods presence, 
being enfolded in that, being seen and being supported, and being 
loved in that presence and then moving on. And taking a look at the 
day before — it might be the week before — and seeing where there were 
times of consolation or desolation, or where there were tensions. And 
you could put a number of different names on it: Keating in the 
centering prayer tradition calls it afflictive emotions. Where you see 
that happening, to me thafs the Spirit saying, "Somethings happen- 
ing in your spirit right now, pay attention to that. " So too with the 
consolation experiences. Where are those graced moments popping up 
in a day or last week or last half a day? And then things start to crop 
up even month to month. You start to see a pattern. 

For Michael, experiences of consolation have an affective 
dimension to them. They are experiences of joy and hope. They are 
"very heartfelt experiences. They 're warm. They 're love." The affective 
experiences associated with desolation are the opposite of those of 

28 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

consolation. Most importantly in his view, however, experiences of 
consolation involve "a very noticeable increase in, you know, the bottom 
line, the three virtues: faith, hope, love." He pays attention primarily to 
this dimension of his experience when doing the examen. 

Despite everything else that is going on, whafs my faith doing? 
What is my level of hope in this situation? Am I loving? Or am I a 
little more loving than I was to this person yesterday? Or what 
direction am I going? Am I working out of faith, or am I afraid? 
Whafs the bottom line? Am I fearful? Do I mistrust this person? Am 
I operating out of mistrust? Is that the thing I am experiencing right 
now? Do I have some level of contempt or ill will or blown-up ego or 
distorted image? To me those all fall into the desolation category. 

On other occasions, he may look back over the day and feel 
sorrow about the way he responded to a situation. 

And then there are other times where . . . an event in the day where I 
know that my response just was not what it could have been, espe- 
cially in an attitude I might have about somebody, being angry on 
the road driving and being just totally worked up about it. . . . Being 
able to see that in day-to-day events and feel that and be very sorrow- 
ful and feel the release of something and a bit of a transformation. 
Thats Gods grace at work. 

For Michael, the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, the examen 
of consciousness, along with his more recent practice of centering 
prayer, have led him to a greater awareness of God's presence in the 
world and in his own life experiences. He mentioned in this regard 
one span of time during which he had healing interpersonal interac- 
tions with several different people — interactions he says he probably 
would not have been available for prior to beginning these practices. 

The first incident he recounted had to do with Greg, one of 
his closest friends from graduate school. Greg had been an active 
cyclist and a very healthy person when he first met him. But he 
eventually developed Lou Gehrig's disease, a rapidly progressive 
neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for 
controlling voluntary muscles. Persons who have this disease gradu- 
ally lose the ability to move their arms, legs, and eventually their 
whole body. Greg experienced these things and eventually died 
from the disease. Recently, Michael was attending a conference in 
Orlando, Florida, and he made plans to visit Greg's parents who 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 29 

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lived outside of Orlando. He hadn't seen them in twelve or thirteen 

I ended up meeting with Sharon (Gregs sister) and Gregs parents, 
and it was such a healing process. I think for them, too. I honestly 
don't know if I could have even entertained that in another state of 
life. I think the prayer time and the mode of being facilitated that 
openness and my ability to pour myself out to them and he there and 
be receptive. 

On the way home he stopped to see his mother, who lived in 
New Orleans. Her sister had died just a few weeks before after 
having lived and struggled with Alzheimer's for many years. This 
illness and death affected his mother more than she had anticipated, 
and Michael felt that it was good that he could spend time with her 
and just listen to her. 

Although they knew this was coming for a long time, it affected her 
much more than she had anticipated. . . . She just talked. I could tell 
by the end of my short visit — I was there maybe three or four days — 
that our interactions had somehow brought some sense of healing to 

When he returned to work at the university, a student came and 
talked with him about personal problems in her life. 

When I got back here, I was in my office, and one of our undergradu- 
ate students came in and just sat down and started talking about 
some personal issues she was having. I didn't ask for any of this. She 
came to me. Just started telling me stories about how she was doing 
in school. Some family issues, some painful things that were happen- 
ing in her life. She was somehow comforted by the things I was able 
to offer her. Now, you can draw your own conclusions from all of 
that, but I think it has to do with sort of a state of being and a result 
of a prayer life. 

For Michael, these kinds of relationships with an ever-expand- 
ing number of people in different situations are what Jesus promises 
those who give up everything and follow him. He recaDed the 
gospel story of the rich young man, whom Jesus tells to keep the 
commandments, give away what he has to the poor, and follow him. 
The rich young man went away sad, according to the story. Michael 
recalled that a little later in the story Peter says to Jesus, "We have 

30 <f Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

given up everything and followed you," seemingly wondering what 
it is he and the other disciples can expect. 

Jesus' reply to them is, "Well, what you can expect is, you're going to 
have more brothers and sisters and relatives and everything than you 
can imagine." I don't think they get it, what that means. But to me 
thafs the whole idea. Moving out of a prayer space, you get more 
brothers and sisters and people that you're connected to and that 
you're concerned about than you ever imagined. 

So I can see that. Sort of the day-to-day routine, how I interact 
with folks, who they are to me now is a little bit different than they 
were five or ten years ago. And I don't know where that will stop, 
really. It always seems to be getting a little bigger. 

Michael ended up doing the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat 
because he had been interested in the role of spirituality in the 
workplace. He had done a two-year internship program in Ignatian 
spirituality that had precisely this focus. After the internship, he 
made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. During this time he was 
offered the job he currently has, doing research in basic radiology at 
a public research university. The offer of a new job provided him 
with an opportunity to make a concrete discernment in relation to 
his work. 

The practice of paying attention to the faith dimension of his 
own experience during the examen turned out to be very helpful 
when it came time for him to make this decision regarding a change 
of jobs. When he told his former employer about the job offer at the 
university, the employer offered him more money and new respon- 
sibilities in an attempt to get him to stay. But Michael knew the 
company had many problems, and there were even some core 
values that were in conflict with his own values. When he imagined 
himself staying with his former company, he noticed he felt uneasy 
and agitated. When he considered his reasons for staying, he real- 
ized the appeals were primarily to his ego, a sign for him that this 
might not be where the Spirit was leading him. 

There was just such an agitation with staying where I was. . . . It 
was an agitation, but it wasn't a neutral thing. It just definitely 
seemed to me to be more about an enticement and a lure that I 
could rationalize taking, because maybe I was called to be in this 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 31 

place and help straighten things out or whatever. The appeals 
were all to my ego. 

On the other hand, when he considered taking the position at 
the university, even though in some ways he was entering the 
unknown, and had to step out in faith, he said: 

Something was very correct, very right about it. That was very 
present, this rightness, this sort of lightness, Til say. Just very cor- 
rect. . . . 77ns sense of connecting with the people, what the job was, 
a lightness about it, a sense of hopefulness about it — all this just said, 
''This is it!" 

And I call that a discernment because there were so many things 
enticing me to stay in the familiar environment with the people I had 
come to know and stay where I was living and just change titles and 
salary and grow into that spot. There were things that on the surface 
looked very right about that. Very right. But the process for me was 
that I just had to keep listening to what was underneath all of that. 
What were the movements that I was experiencing under that? In 
which of these two decisions did I feel more at peace? and have more 
hope? and have a sense that this was going to flow out into some- 
thing very fruitful in the world? 

Michael's experiences over the last five years at the university 
have confirmed the decision he made. He mentioned that he origi- 
nally focused his engineering studies in the biomedical area, which 
would enable him to direct his research toward the medical field in 
such a way that it could end up helping people. He does just this 
kind of research in his position at the university. 

Its all related, fm convinced. Even back when I was in grad school, I 
would think, people who were on some kind of spiritual path, some 
people become social workers and some people are counselors and 
some people work in soup kitchens. But what do you do when you're 
really good at digital-logic circuits? I don't know. Where's the slant 
there? And there are a variety of things I could have done with an 
engineering degree. I certainly didn't have to take the biomedical 
slant, which I did. That is one discipline that at least even on the 
surface has some kind of interaction with helping people. To me iffs 
important that I believe in the kind of work that I do. If I didn't I 
wouldn't be doing it. It seems to be a nice mixture of my scientific 
slant and wanting to contribute back into humankind. 

32 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

Michael pointed out that other aspects of the work he does at 
the university are important to him from a faith perspective as well. 
He mentioned in this regard his relationships with other researchers 
and staff members and the opportunity to work with students and 
help them grow and develop as researchers and as persons. 

Therms a fair amount of my interaction with students and so forth 
that makes sense with the whole prayer experience and what flows 
out of that. Ifs more than just the particulars of designing or testing 
a new imaging technique that might better show the vascular pattern 
of x-y-and-z. Ifs the whole process that may benefit somebody fifteen 
years from now if this ever reaches the clinical world — maybe. But it 
fosters a whole lot of other things in the process, with the students, 
with interactions, with relationships, with teaching, with people 
coming, you know, growing in their student life. The whole picture. 
So, I would certainly say they 're related. 


I would like to make some concluding comments now about the 
value of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our 
time. In order to broach this topic, I will first need to return to 
some of the themes from the introduction to this piece. I mentioned 
there how the retreatants emphasized that they came away from the 
retreat with much more of a felt sense of God's love for the world 
and for them. The profound experience of being loved by God 
brought about a new level of interior freedom, which allowed the 
retreatants to respond in generosity to Christ's call. 

Each person experienced this call uniquely, in accordance with 
his or her life history, personality, gifts and talents, and the needs of 
his or her family, community, place of work, and the broader world. 
The uniqueness of each person's call meant that collectively the 
retreatants had an influence that reached into many different areas 
of society or the world. Even in the four stories we considered, one 
can see that their different callings led them to have an influence in 
very diverse settings. The influence expanded even further if one 
considers all twenty of the retreatants I interviewed, who were 
involved in such diverse work as real-estate development, health 
care, businesses of various kinds, university administration, parish 

Loved into Freedom and Service -b 33 



ministry, social work, teaching special education, spiritual direction, 
and university campus ministry. 14 

Many of the retreatants spoke of feeling called to be more 
active in serving the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, or the 
marginalized. Three of the retreatants whose stories we considered 
mentioned feeling called in this way. Susan felt empowered to 
participate in a healing ministry with children with special needs; 
James was motivated to work actively for justice in Eastern Euro- 
pean societies and to stimulate his students to think about issues of 
wealth and poverty; Michael spoke about comforting people who 
had suffered loss and comforting a student who was going through 
difficult experiences. 15 Commitment to the poor and marginalized 
was a common theme among the retreatants. 

The retreatants expressed virtual unanimity with regard to 
how the experience of making the retreat affected their decision 
making. Although they typically did not refer to the text of the Rules 
for Discernment, the way retreatants described the affective experi- 
ences associated with good decisions was very similar to the way 
Ignatius describes the experience of the presence of the good spirit 
in the life of a person who is going from "good to better." It is 
encouraging and strengthening; there is a sense of obstacles being 

Sometimes lay people who make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat are 
working in Jesuit institutions, but often they are not. Only one of the twenty people I 
interviewed was working full time in a Jesuit institution at the time of the interviews. 
None of the four retreatants whose stories we here recounted did so. This 
phenomenon — which can be seen across the U.S. Assistancy — offers us an 
opportunity to consider in a more radical way than we have to date what it means 
for us to serve the laity in their mission, as some of our recent documents have 
phrased our charge today. The mission of lay persons is not circumscribed by the 
works of the Society. We need eyes to see outside our own group to the larger 
Church and churches, within which lay people are being called to mission, and to 
the needs of the world to which they have the gifts and talents to respond. If we can 
be aware of these realities, then we have the opportunity to participate in the 
marvelous new initiatives of the Spirit in our time by sharing what is central to our 
own tradition — the Spiritual Exercises — with gifted and generous lay persons who 
will be able to "help more souls" than we ever could on our own. 


Maureen's work was also directed toward the suffering and marginalized. 
The company she and her husband owned served injured workers, trying to get 
them into a position where they could reenter the labor force. Because we were 
focusing on other themes in Maureen's section, I did not emphasize this dimension 
of her work. 

34 <0> Patrick M. Kelly, S.J. 

removed; it is a gentle and easy dynamic, like water falling on a 
sponge; and there is the feeling that one is coming into one's own 
house through an open door. Susan attended to such dynamics to 
learn how she was being called in specific ways in her day-to-day 
life at work and in the community. Maureen and Michael described 
such experiences as the basis upon which they made significant 
decisions regarding the kind of work or ministry they were being 
called to do. And James did so with regard to his decision about 
where to do graduate studies and how to approach his teaching, 
research, and writing. 

Those last two images — water falling on a sponge and coming 
into one's own house through an open door — are found in the Rules 
for Discernment for the Second Week, which were appropriate for 
all of the retreatants' situations. They had all experienced the for- 
giveness and healing associated with the First Week in the course of 
the retreat (and many had important First Week experiences long 
before making the retreat). Although they recognized they would 
continue to struggle with sin, they now focused primarily on coming 
to know Christ more intimately and loving him more intensely, so 
they could follow him more closely. For Ignatius, such persons will 
experience the good spirit as going in the same direction they are — 
as gentle and easy, as a kind of "coming home" to themselves, God, 
and others. 

It is important to acknowledge that these retreatants were 
being called to follow Christ in the manner described above. Minis- 
try involves meeting persons "where they are at" and making the 
necessary adaptations in order to do so. Since lay people today are 
living in the mode of following Christ in this way, we should be 
providing them with "aids" which can help them to grow in their 
love of Christ and to follow him ever more closely. The full four 
Weeks of Ignatius's Exercises are uniquely suited for this purpose. 
And the Rules for Discernment are indispensable to the experience 
of the retreat as Ignatius understood it. 16 

16 Recently, scholars are recognizing the centrality of the Rules for 
Discernment for understanding the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises. John W. 
CMalley, for example, writes that the Rules, "come as close as anything does to 
revealing the most basic assumptions Ignatius entertained about the dynamics of an 
individual's relationship to God." For this reason, he understands the Rules to be "at the 
very core of the Spiritual Exercises," and "a critical introduction to the meaning of the 
whole book'' (The First Jesuits [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993], 41). 

Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 35 

The insights of Ignatius in this very practical realm of vocation 
and discernment offer one of the most compelling arguments for the 
need for the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our 
own time. After the first century of the Society's history, as we have 
seen, this particular retreat dropped out of usage and we were left 
with the thirty-day retreat — usually for potential religious or reli- 
gious and priests — and the exercises of the First Week, which came 
to be understood as being primarily for lay people. But this in fact 
was not faithful to some of Ignatius's earlier inclinations or the 
practices of the early Jesuits. In the new situation of the Church 
today, with the recognition of a universal call to holiness, and the 
vocation of all the baptized to the apostolate, lay persons need a 
way to discover their own vocations and to discern how God is 
calling them on a day-to-day basis. This can happen during the 
Second, Third, and Fourth Weeks of the Exercises, when the retreat 
experience is accompanied by an introduction to the Rules for 
Discernment. This is one of the reasons the Spiritual Exercises, and 
the Nineteenth Annotation version of this retreat in particular, is so 
important during this "Age of the Laity." 

Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 

(For prices, see inside back cover.) 

1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969) 

1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969) 

2/1 Burk?, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970) 

2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970) 

2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970) 

3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971) 

3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971) 

3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of Gods Will (Sept. 1971) 

3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971) 

4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972) 

4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972) 

4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium 
(Oct. 1972) 

5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan.-Mar. 1973) 

5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973) 

5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973) 

5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973) 

6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974) 

7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975) 

7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975) 

7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975) 

7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General 

Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975) 

8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976) 

8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty 
(Mar.-May 1976) 

8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976) 

9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations 
(Jan.-Mar. 1977) 

9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977). 

9/5 Gill, A Jesuits Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977) 

10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978) 

10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land 

(Sept. 1978) 

11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979) 

11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979) 

11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979) 

11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979) 

12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic 

Communities (Mar. 1980) 

12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980) 

13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981) 

13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981) 

13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981) 

14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982) 

14/2 Dulles, St Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982) 

14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982) 

14/5 Ivern, The Future ofFaitb and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982) 

15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (fan. 1983) 

15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Charisms (Mar. 


15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the 

Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983) 

15/5-16/1 Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984) 

16/2 O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar. 


16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984) 

16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984) 

17/1 Spohn, St Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (fan. 1985) 

17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985) 

17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985) 

17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985) 

17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985) 

18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986). 

18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986) 

18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986) 

18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986). 

19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (fan. 1987) 

19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987) 

19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987) 

20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988) 

20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988) 

20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988) 

20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988) 

20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988) 

21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (fan. 1989) 

21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989) 

21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989) 

22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (fan. 1990) 

22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990) 

22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990) 

22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feeling, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990) 

22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990) 

23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled 0an. 1991) 

23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991) 

23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991) 

23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991) 

24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992) 

24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992) 

24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992) 

24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992) 

24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992) 

25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993) 

25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993) 

25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993) 

26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994) 

26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994) 

26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994) 

27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995) 

27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995) 

27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995) 

27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995) 

27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995) 

28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996) 

28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996) 

28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996) 

28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996) 

29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997) 

29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997) 

29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997) 

29/4 Keenan, Are Informations Ethical? (Sept. 1997) 

29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997) 

30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi ofLudolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of 

Ignatius of Loyola (Jan. 1998) 

30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . (or So . . . )f" (March 1998) 

30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998) 

30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998) 

30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998) 

31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999) 

31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999) 

31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999) 

31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999) 

31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J.: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999) 

32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000) 

32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000) 

32/3 Shelton, When a Jesuit Counsels Others (May 2000) 

32/4 Barry, Past, Present, and Future (Sept. 2000) 

32/5 Starkloff, Pilgrimage Re-envisioned (Nov. 2000) 

33/1 Kolvenbach et al., Faith, Justice, and American Jesuit Higher Education (Jan. 2001) 

33/2 Keenan, Unexpected Consequences: Persons's Christian Directory (March 2001) 

33/3 Arrupe, Trinitarian Inspiration of the Ignatian Charism (May 2001) 

33/4 Veale, Saint Ignatius Asks, "Are You Sure You Know Who I Am?" (Sept. 2001) 

33/5 Barry and Keenan, How Multicultural Are We? (Nov. 2001) 

34/1 Blake, "City of the Living God" (Jan. 2002) 

34/2 Clooney, A Charism for Dialog (March 2002) 

34/3 Rehg, Christian Mindfulness (May 2002) 

34/4 Brackley, Expanding the Shrunken Soul (Sept. 2002) 

34/5 Bireley, The Jesuits and Politics in Time of War (Nov. 2002) 

35/1 Barry, Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life (Jan. 2003) 

35/2 Madden/Janssens, The Training of Ours in the Sacred Liturgy (March 2003) 

35/4 Modras, A Jesuit in the Crucihle (Sept. 2003) 

35/5 Lucas, Virtual Vessels, Mystical Signs (Nov. 2003) 

36/1 Rausch, Christian Life Communities for Jesuit University Students? (Spring 2004) 

36/2 Bernauer, The Holocaust and the Search for Forgiveness (Summer 2004) 

36/3 Nantais, "Whatever!" Is Not Ignatian Indifference (Fall 2004) 

36/4 Lukacs, The Incarnational Dynamic of the Constitutions (Winter 2004) 

37/1 Smolarski, Jesuits on the Moon (Spring 2005) 

37/2 McDonough, Clenched Fist or Open Hands? (Summer 2005) 

37/3 Torrens, Tuskegee Years (Fall 2005) 

37/4 O'Brien, Consolation in Action (Winter 2005) 

38/1 Schineller, In Their Own Words (Spring 2006) 

38/2 Jackson, "Something that happened to me at Manresa" (Summer 2006) 

38/3 Reiser, Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week (Fall 2006) 

38/4 O'Malley, Five Missions of the Jesuit Charism (Winter 2006) 

39/1 McKevitt, Italian Jesuits in Maryland (Spring 2007) 

39/2 Kelly, Loved into Freedom and Service (Summer 2007) 



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